VeriPass Pilot

CA-based On Track Innovations confirmed this morning that field trials are being conducted with ‘VeriPass’, a new solution offered by VeriFone that incorporates contactless smart card technology from OTI. The ‘VeriPass’ system is similar to Mobil’s ‘Speedpass’ system. Customers pre-designate the card payment method which is then programmed onto a small key fob, which can be attached to the customer’s car key ring. The ‘VeriPass’ system is the only system of its kind that is adaptable to any dispenser that interfaces with the ‘Ruby SuperSystem’, even, potentially, those without card readers. The field trials are testing ease of use and customer purchase patterns. Ultimately, ‘VeriPass’ will enable cash values to be stored on the fob, and also will allow gas-station and convenience-store owners to develop loyalty, frequency and coupon programs. OTI says more locations are slated for start up during the next few months.


Infrared Terminals

Anritsu Corp. will introduce in October a debit-card-reading terminal with a separate input keypad and base deck which communicates via infrared beams.

The cordless design is intended to provide consumers with increased privacy and security when entering personal identification numbers.

The debit card service, which began in Japan in January, is growing more popular, particularly among major department stores and airlines.

Anritsu aims to sell 200,000 units over the next three years and to realize sales of about 5 billion yen a year.


Gold Points

Carlson Companies’ subsidiary, Gold Points Corp., announced Friday that National Car Rental will join its ‘Gold Points’ program effective Oct. 1. All U.S. National Car Rental locations will award ‘Gold Points’ at a rate of 350 ‘Gold Points’ per rental day. ‘Gold Points’ is a card-based, consumer loyalty program offering awards ranging from hotels stays to catalog merchandise. Consumers can a ‘Gold Points’ card through a network partner or via the ‘Gold Points’ web site. With each transaction, the card is electronically scanned and a central database records the new points total. Rewards can also be redeemed via the company’s web site. As an option, cardholders can donate points through the Gold Points ‘SHARE’ program for non-profit organizations. In addition to National Car Rental, other ‘Gold Points’ national network partners are: MCI WorldCom; SkyMall; Gold Connexions, a travel club; T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants; Radisson Hotels; and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.


Next Gen MICR

MN-based Mag-Tek Inc. introduced the ‘MICR Module’ for check reading for OEM applications. The new ‘MICR Module’ provides the smallest footprint, comprehensive features and tools to facilitate efficient integration. The new module also allows the addition of check-reading capabilities to devices such as terminals, keyboards, printers, cash registers, etc. The self-contained ‘MICR Module’ automatically discriminates between ‘E13B’ and ‘CMC7’ MICR fonts. With its optimized check-handling capabilities, the ‘MICR Module’ provides very high read accuracy for crumpled or folded check documents. All functions of the module are controlled via command-driven communications protocol.


Free Turkey MoneyGrams

MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc., one of the world’s leading international money wire transfer services, is making their entire U.S. retail agent network available to process donations through MoneyGram to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey.

MoneyGram ExpressPayment System will waive the money wire transfer fee (normally $8.95) for anyone who wishes to make a donation to the American Red Cross at any of the 15,000 MoneyGram retail agents in the United States. The entire donation will go directly to the American Red Cross International Response Fund to benefit the victims of the earthquake.

“We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Turkey at this immense loss they have suffered,” said Rob Ayers, MoneyGram’s executive vice president for international business. “We have many Turkish customers throughout the U.S., and we share their grief at this horrible and unprecedented tragedy.”

“We have also been in communication with MoneyGram agents in Turkey, KOCBANK and FINANSBANK, to do everything possible to facilitate money transfers to Turkish families and business firms during this crisis,” Ayers added.

In the wake of the earthquake, at least 6,000 people are dead and over 20,000 are injured. The Red Cross is on the scene, making sure that victims have access to food, shelter, clean water and medical supplies.

To make a no-fee donation, go to the nearest MoneyGram location and the agent will send your charitable contribution directly to the American Red Cross.

Please specify that you are making your donation via ExpressPayment and give the agent the Red Cross Receive Code 0730. The offer is available for approximately one month and will end at midnight Eastern Daylight Time on Sept. 16, 1999.

Your receipt will provide proof of your charitable donation. MoneyGram and its agents will also be making their own donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund by donating $5 of the total waived-fee amount of every money transfer sent by anyone in the United States to Turkey until midnight on Sept. 16.

For further information, call (English) 1-800-926-9400.


VISA Cash Canada

Scotiabank said this morning it has expanded its ‘VISA Cash’ smart card pilot in Barrie, Ontario with an unprecedented loyalty program. Sam The Record Man, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Cineplex Odeon Grande Cinemas in Barrie are offering their customers free merchandise when they buy a certain number of items with their Scotiabank ‘VISA Cash’ smart card. Consumers are now collecting loyalty rewards from 18 merchants in the Barrie area on the VISA smart card. The card’s chip keeps track of points and rewards. Scotiabank says the Barrie smart card/loyalty pilot has the potential to expand to our stores across Canada. Starting this fall, Scotiabank customers in the Barrie area will be able to download cash from the Internet onto their smart cards. Consumers will use a smart card reading device connected to their PC to transfer money from their bank accounts to their smart cards.


Speedpass Sweepstakes

Mobil and Major League Baseball have teamed up to offer an opportunity to win a trip to the ‘1999 World Series’. Customers who enroll in the free Mobil ‘Speedpass’ program between now and Oct. 1 will be automatically entered in the sweepstakes. Six grand prize winners will score tickets to a ‘World Series’ game including round trip airfare and hotel accommodations. A total of 56 prizes will be awarded including six grand prize packages. Over 3 million Americans now use ‘Speedpass’. Customers use a miniature electronic transponder attached to a key chain or affixed to the vehicle’s rear window to automatically charge fuel purchases to a credit or check card designated during enrollment. Mobil is the ‘Official Gasoline of the 1999 World Series’.


TD Growth

TD Bank Financial Group achieved record net income, for the third successive quarter, of $391 million for the third quarter of 1999, up 36% from the same period in 1998. This excludes the gain realized through the initial public offering of TD Waterhouse Group, Inc.

Earnings per share, excluding the TD Waterhouse gain, are also a record. Cash earnings per share (excluding goodwill charges) are $.66 compared to $.48 in the same quarter last year and return on common equity, on a cash basis, is 21.4% this quarter compared to 17.3% last year. On an accrual basis, earnings per share are $.64 compared to $.46 and return on equity is 18.9% this quarter compared to 15.0% last year.

“While delivering record quarterly results, TD undertook two bold initiatives to build long term value for shareholders: the successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) of TD Waterhouse Group, Inc. and the announcement of the proposed takeover bid to acquire CT Financial Services,” said A. Charles Baillie, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Financial Group.

TD’s record quarterly earnings reflect strong performances by its core businesses — retail banking, wealth management, and corporate and investment banking — along with a reduction in loan loss provision for the quarter. Strong core earnings were augmented by an after-tax gain of $1.82 per share, representing the Bank’s gain on the TD Waterhouse IPO.

TD Waterhouse IPO

During the quarter, TD combined its global discount brokerage operations to create TD Waterhouse Group, Inc. — the second largest discount broker in the world — and sold 43.4 million treasury shares (11.5%) in the new entity for proceeds of approximately $1.5 billion.

“The successful IPO has raised substantial funds to finance the global expansion of TD Waterhouse, as well as improving the Bank’s Tier 1 capital position and recognizing the market value of this core business for TD Bank Financial Group,” noted Baillie.

Canada Trust Proposal

TD took a major step toward becoming the leader in retail banking in Canada with its agreement with British American Tobacco Plc (BAT) to make a takeover bid to acquire 98.2% of the shares of CT Financial Services Inc. (Canada Trust), currently owned by Imasco Limited. TD will subsequently proceed with a follow-up bid for the balance. The transaction is subject to review and approval by the Minister of Finance, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada, as well as approval by shareholders of Imasco and BAT.

With 3.7 million customers, 14,000 full-time equivalent employees, 431 branches and $41 billion in personal deposits, Canada Trust is one of Canada’s most successful retail financial services organizations — renowned for its friendly and convenient customer service and hours of service. “When combined with our retail operations as `TD Canada Trust’, we will be No.1 in Canada in number of retail customers, customer service, Internet and telephone banking customers, mutual fund advice, personal loans and personal deposits,” said Baillie.

TD hopes to receive the necessary approvals and to close the transaction by early February 2000. TD has agreed to a purchase price of approximately $8 billion — a price which TD believes reflects the full and fair value of the Canada Trust franchise while offering long term value to its shareholders. To maintain its Tier 1 capital ratio at 7% and the total of Tier 1 and 2 capital at 10% after the transaction closing, TD has raised $700 million in common equity since the quarter end and will raise another $1.3 billion in other Tier 1 capital including preferred shares.

“We look forward to the creation of TD Canada Trust — bringing customers the best service, achieving leadership in retail financial services in Canada and establishing a platform for North American expansion, while adding substantial value for shareholders,” added Baillie. “Through revenue enhancement and expense savings, we anticipate increased cash earnings per share and cash return on equity in the first year after closing.”

Improving the business balance

“With the investments in growth of our global discount brokerage franchise, TD Waterhouse, and our proposed acquisition of Canada Trust, we are moving rapidly towards our stated objective of investing a higher proportion of our capital in retail businesses — businesses which historically show greater earnings stability,” noted Baillie. Since the beginning of the year, TD has reduced capital allocation to corporate lending by approximately $200 million through exiting lower return corporate loans. With the anticipated closing of the Canada Trust transaction next year, over 60% of capital will be allocated to retail businesses, up from about 46% today.

Highlights of the quarter

All of TD’s core businesses successfully implemented growth strategies and achieved strong year-over-year gains during the quarter. Among the operating highlights:

– Euromoney magazine singled out TD Securities as the “Best Securities Dealer in Canada”, for the second year in a row — citing TD Securities’ leadership in domestic corporate bond underwriting, Eurobonds, media and telecom financing, high yield debt and government infrastructure financing.

– TD Waterhouse passed the 2 million mark in active customers (reaching 2.8 million total accounts) and became the first foreign discount broker to gain approval to trade on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, the final step in launching TD Waterhouse in Hong Kong. As well, TD Waterhouse was named favourite discount brokerage firm in Mutual Fund Magazine’s Readers’ Choice and ranked second overall in Smart Money magazine’s annual survey of the best discount brokerages in the U.S.

– TD Waterhouse National Bank (TDWNB) achieved significant growth, reaching US$4.4 billion in assets and operating approximately 500,000 deposit accounts. TDWNB is leveraging its affiliation with TD Waterhouse discount brokerage, as 480,000 of TD Waterhouse’s discount brokerage customers maintain accounts with it.

– TD led the way in mutual fund advice and delivery by offering proactive advice on — and the sale of — third party mutual funds through TD branches. This initiative, which was launched in over 50 branches in Greater Vancouver and will be introduced through the entire branch network later this year, gives TD customers access to selected funds from the AGF Group of Funds and Fidelity Investments.

– TD built on its leadership in electronic and online delivery with enhancements to its Web Banking services through the introduction of TD Access Web Genie, a personalized messaging service that lets customers know, for example, that their GM card statements are ready or that their TD mortgages or GICs are coming up for renewal. TD is the first financial institution in Canada to offer this service.

– TD Life became the first bank insurer in Canada to offer customers the dual benefit of lifetime insurance protection and tax-deferred investment growth with the launch of TD Universal Life.


“The Canadian economy continues to outperform expectations and we expect positive growth trends to continue into the next fiscal year. In this environment, we believe our exceptional businesses are on track to make further progress in the fourth quarter and in fiscal 2000,” concluded Baillie.

For more information visit CardData ([][1]).



Pinnacle Cash Cards

The ‘Pinnacle Cash Card’ is coming. Yesterday Clearwater, FL-based, start-up, Pinnacle Business Management, Inc. announced an agreement with an undisclosed national financial services company to issue the new cards. Thursday’s agreement will enable Pinnacle’s new card to be used in more than 750,000 ATMs and retail stores. By walking into any authorized Pinnacle location, customers can acquire a cash card, or fill an existing card in the possession of anyone anywhere in the world, with cash. The cardholder can use the card immediately. Pinnacle specializes in paycheck advance loans and automobile title loans. The new card is intended to reduce the cash inventories at paycheck advance locations.


HyperWare C

Hypercom Corporation introduced the HyperWare “C” Developer’s Toolkit, a C-based package which includes the source code for a base application for credit and debit transactions. Hypercom’s new development environment also includes a rich set of tools that allow programmers to quickly customize the base application component to differentiate their solution in the marketplace.

“Our customers report they are delighted with the performance and functionality of the applications we are developing, but that they also want the chance to use their own in-house programming expertise,” said George E. Devitt, Hypercom Corporation senior vice president of sales, US and Canada and Global Marketing. “Hypercom’s C-based toolkit meets that need, and provides everything a financial institution, value-added reseller or third-party processors needs for developing customized point-of-sale application.”

“The HyperWare toolkit uses the popular “C” programming language for quick and easy development of value-added applications. It expands the flexibility and functionality of the customer’s electronic processing network, and allows them to fine-tune the applications to their own unique environment,” Devitt continued.

In addition to the credit/debit application with source code, Hypercom’s HyperWare C-based toolkit includes utility functions to access and work with Hypercom’s card payment systems, libraries, compilers, debugging tools and in-circuit emulators to assist in development and speed time to market. The toolkit is compatible with Hypercom’s ICE(TM) 5000 family of interactive, touch-screen card payment systems, T7 card payment systems, Hypercom(R) S7 and S8 secure PINpads, and Hypercom printers.

Hypercom’s HyperWare C-based Developer’s Toolkit is available now through a Hypercom sales representative.

Also at ETA, Hypercom is introducing its HyperWare Version 1.0 turnkey electronic transaction system software, and Hypercom SmartICE(TM) hand-held, wireless card payment system. For a complete demonstration of Hypercom’s SmartICE, ICE 5000 and HyperWare electronic payment solutions, please visit Hypercom’s booth No. 6 at the ETA Annual Meeting and Exposition, August 19-21, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland.

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, including multi-function point-of-sale terminals, peripherals, network products, Ascendent(TM) payment and transaction software and Internet-based and electronic commerce payment solutions.

On a global basis Hypercom delivers the services and technology infrastructure required to quickly integrate and deploy new payment applications. These applications provide competitive value-added programs, improved business performance and low total cost of ownership.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [][1].